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'See you in two minutes, ma': A 15-year-old boy's last words to his mother

Linda Allen describes the harrowing experience of losing her teenage son to suicide.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

“SEE YOU IN two minutes ma,” Linda Allen’s 15-year-old son, Darragh, said to her on the afternoon of 9 December, 2012, as he left their Co Kildare home.

Those were the last words he would ever say to her.

The body of the teenager – who was described as bright, intelligent, musical and boisterous – was discovered by his football coach the next morning after a frantic search. He had taken his own life.

In the awful aftermath of her son’s death, Linda Allen wrote a journal to document her pain and her struggle to come to terms with his suicide. Now, she has written a book to share her experience with those who have suffered a similar loss – a book she published through crowdfunding.

Darragh 2

Darragh, who left behind a 19-year-old sister and a three-year-old half-brother, was a “very typical teenager”, his mother told TheJournal.ie this week.

He loved football. He was very musical, he played the drums. There was always a feeling of life around him, which is ironic now. He was always full of life.

The Junior Cert student had difficulties in school, and changed schools six weeks before he died. But on the whole, there was no indication he was struggling with mental health issues before he died.

“A lot of what was going on with him, I would have called teenage issues,” Linda Allen said. “I wouldn’t have felt there were particularly red flag issues. I certainly didn’t think he was harbouring any ideas.”

The day he disappeared, Darragh helped to decorate the local community hall for a Christmas fair. He then went home to collect a lift from his mother to his dad’s house. When he saw that she was ironing and not quite ready to leave, he told her: “See you in two minutes”.

“We knew something was up”

Darragh’s mother recalls the moment she found her son’s body:

We saw a crew standing around the bridge and we knew something was up. It’s pretty traumatic. It’s pretty horrific. There’s an imagery in that that will probably never leave me. It’s very hard to digest a scene like that. I’d say it takes years. I’m not sure you ever really make sense of it.
“…I remember this loud ‘no’ and and it came up inside of me and I kept saying ‘it can’t be, it can’t be him’.”

The following days and weeks were a blur for her as she attempted to process what had happened.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

There’s something about being a mother and losing a child. There’s something about that loneliness that no matter who you’re with, or how much support you have, it’s just hard to fill that space with anything that feels OK.
You never stop wondering why, and what if, and why did he choose it.

“Did he know where he was going?”

A toxicology report found Darragh had no alcohol or drugs in his system, and nothing unusual was found on his phone.

His mum believes Darragh made a spontaneous decision. “I think there was stuff going on that he was trying to deal with, which wouldn’t be big enough for the action he took, but at some moment he felt it was too big and he saw that as a way out for himself,” she says.

I’d love to know what was it that made him think that that might be [an option]. When he said ’See you in two minutes ma’, did he know where he was going? Was that decision made that last time he saw me?

Processing grief

A former special education teacher who now works as a therapist, Linda Allen has been writing journals since she was a child. Two months after Darragh’s death, she started writing again, documenting the pain, grief and anger she was often gripped with.

“I was able to be so raw and honest and real with this, because it is a real account of what was happening to me,” she says.

She turned the journal into a book and sent it to some publishers without success. It was then that someone suggested crowd-funding.

She went on to raise €6,900 online, which allowed her to publish 1,000 copies of her book, See You In Two Minutes, Ma. It’s being launched tonight by musician and mental health activist, Bressie, to coincide with mental health awareness month.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

“I want to say to people that even if your life transforms and changes completely, it doesn’t mean you can’t have moments of happiness,” she says.

You have moments of absolutely hitting the ground and darkness – and suicide in particular leaves you with so many unanswered questions, it is really so difficult if you continue to ask questions you can’t answer.
…But I have a resilience that decided that I was not going to die. I had to do something else. I had to change. There was a part of me that needed to find the light in the dark. Because I felt if I kept cursing the light in the dark I’d just get deeper and deeper into that.

Darragh would be 18 now, and Linda Allen says she constantly thinks of the life he could have led. She wants to see more government support for services like Pieta House, Console and Aware and a change to the system that sees mental health sufferers being dealt with in emergency departments.

She also wants to see more discussion around adolescent mental health amid her fears that other teenagers like Darragh are taking their own lives at the spur of the moment.

Darragh

“Suicide rates in Ireland are scary,” she says.

“If I could do anything, I would build teenagers’ resilience and resourcefulness. They live in a world that is so virtual. They don’t even know reality anymore, everything has become online…

When their boyfriend breaks up with them or they’re not sure about their sexuality, they need to be able to go somewhere to talk to their friend about that and not feel that it might be on Instagram or on social media.
That’s causing a lot of problems because they are trying to live up to an expectation that’s surreal. Nobody can live like that.

 If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Console 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie – (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

- Camera and editing by Nicky Ryan.

More: WATCH: Bressie gives impassioned speech about the ‘epidemic of this generation’

More: Amid Dáil uncertainty, Clare Daly reads letter from woman whose sister died by suicide

 

 

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